Two charged in minister's slaying appear in Hamilton County court

photo Jordan Craig and Steven Kelley

Read moreChattanooga police took 48 minutes to arrive after 911 call about minister's fatal assault

Two people charged in the killing of Chattanooga associate minister Kenneth Johnson made a first appearance Tuesday morning in Hamilton County General Sessions Court.

Johnson's wife found his body in a ditch off Blackford Street Nov. 11. Jordan Craig, 26 and Steven Kelley, 22, are charged with first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery in the case. Police say they located the pair through text messages sent to Johnson from Craig's phone arranging a meeting.

Johnson's car was ransacked and his keys were missing. Police say the pair lured him to rob him, then killed him. But Craig told police Johnson agreed to meet her there and trade drugs for sexual favors, and that she dropped her boyfriend, Kelley, off nearby for protection. He jumped in when she refused Johnson's advances, she said.

Kelley told police he hid in the back seat of Craig's car. Johnson propositioned Craig and tried to attack Kelley with a crowbar, Kelley said, so he fought back.

On Tuesday, the pair waived their right to have a hearing within 10 days. They will return to general sessions court for a preliminary hearing Dec. 18, Judge Clarence Shattuck said.